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Fiber Supplements (Guar Gum & Psyllium Husk Powder)

MattM

Savannah Super Cat
Does anyone have any experience with fiber supplements in raw food diets? Are they necessary when switching over to raw food diets from canned wet food? Are they necessary after switching over? Which one do you use?

I was doing a lot of reading on raw food diets from Feline-nutrition.org and Cat-info.org and I came across a difference in the ingredients listed. I know in humans a lot of research is going into fiber supplements related to an increase in better overall health as well as a decrease of various GIT cancers. My university had a lot of ongoing studies I knew about because they were paying students for fecal samples (haha). You literally brought your poop in a bucket in exchange for money.

The fiber issue may be different for cats since they are primarily carnivores and eat a high protein/water content diet. I'm not exactly sure how felines occasional eating grass fits into all of this if you were to directly compare domestic diets to whole prey natural diet ones.

The ingredient list from feline-nutrition.org by Margaret Gates recommends psyllium husk powder, while the recipe from cat-info.org by Dr. Lisa Pierson uses guar gum. Dr. Pierson's article also mentions that the guar gum was used primarily to treat one of her cats with a rectal abnormality. She also states that she uses guar gum because it is a soluble fiber, (as opposed to the Psyllium Husk Powder an insoluble fiber), and will still soften, but not swell stool size. Insoluble fibers will swell stool size and possibly cause other complications.

After continuing to do research, I found that there are a lot of negative implications with guar gum. Apparently it is extremely high in fermentability, that causes very repugnant smelling cat feces and potentially diarrhea along with loss of nutrients.

In summary:

A lot of raw food recipes recommend fiber supplements. Guar gum will not swell stool size, but is known to cause odor and GIT complications. Psyllium Husk Powder swells stool size, but has less known complications than guar gum.

My gut instinct tells me that there might not even be a need for fiber supplements in raw food. If my Savannah develops constipation problems, then maybe add Psyllium Husk Powder separate of the original mix to off-set the problem. I will be using the Mazuri mix for slab meat which contains calcium, while additionally adding a few bones which may increase the likelihood of a constipation issue.

Can anyone offer me their input or experience? I really appreciate it!
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
In my experience fiber (psyllium) helps bulk up stools in cats that have diarrhea. I have also found that switching to raw usually cures any issues with loose stools and I've never heard of adding fiber to raw, but my experience with creating a raw diet from scratch is limited.
 

admin

Paige
Staff member
Matt, I don't use fiber at all and no one I know does...I do feed chicks every couple of days, so the fiber is there and I also feed whole carcass raw, so the fiber is there as well ;)

Are you going to add something like Kitty Bloom or Mazuri? or will you add your own supplements....

And I thought Lisa Pierson said she no longer uses psyllium or anything fiber?
 

MattM

Savannah Super Cat
Matt, I don't use fiber at all and no one I know does...I do feed chicks every couple of days, so the fiber is there and I also feed whole carcass raw, so the fiber is there as well ;)

Are you going to add something like Kitty Bloom or Mazuri? or will you add your own supplements....

And I thought Lisa Pierson said she no longer uses psyllium or anything fiber?


I would be using the Mazuri supplement for slab meet with calcium in it. Dr. Pierson stated she doesn't use guar gum anymore, but the recipe from cat-nutrition.org uses psyllium.
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
I agree that fibre is not a necessary supplement unless the cat has a diagnosed health issue requiring it such as IBD. If your cat has temporary constipation, mixing in a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of pure pumpkin into the food will do the trick.
 

MattM

Savannah Super Cat
My entire purpose of this topic is to make sure I'm not going to either overdose or constipate my cat with calcium supplements. Since I purchased the Mazuri supplement for slab meat, I wanted to know how much calcium they had in their ingredients compared to the nutritional recommendations set by the AAFCO.

Currently the AAFCO has set their calcium requirements to 1.0 to 0.6% of dry weight in the total cat diet. From my understanding this is a conservative estimate since many whole prey adult rodents and birds actually contain 2.25 to 2.75 of dietary dry matter in calcium. There is a table that keeps coming up in the research I have done I can't seem to find a source for that estimates the dry matter % requirement from 0.5 to 1.8 depending on stage of life.

There does not seem to be a whole lot of concern for calcium toxicity in cats as there are in dogs. The greatest complications for cats seems to be diarrhea, constipation, and bone spurs. The AAFCO does not set a maximum for cats, but does have one for dogs set at 2.5% DM. Surprisingly, there is very little to no information at all about calcium content in regular commercial canned cat food.

With all this being said I calculated a rough percentage estimate of calcium that is in the Mazuri supplement for slab meat. Mazuri recommends 9.1 grams of supplement per 1 pound of slab meat. My cat eats roughly 1 can of wet food per day (5.5) ounces. According to the crude analysis from Mazuri, a maximum 20% of dry weight calcium is in the powder. Following the guidelines, 1 pound of slab meat will contain 1.82 grams DW calcium. If my cat eats 5.5 ounces of that then he will consume 0.626 grams of calcium. 5.5 ounces of slab meat is 155.922 in grams. It is a safe estimate to assume 70-75% of slab meat is actual moisture content according to various crude analysis of slab meats. 30-25% (removal of moisture content) of 155.92 grams is 38.98-46.78. 0.626 grams of calcium is 1.61% - 1.34% of 38.98 grams of slab meat.

Summary:
The calcium supplement in the Mazuri slab meat may be relatively high compared to the AAFCO standards. Water content of various meats is difficult to estimate. The AAFCO standards maybe very conservative compared to dry weight percentage of calcium in whole prey mice and birds. It might be a risk adding some bones to the Mazuri supplement for slab meat and I might just need to bite the bullet and return or re-order the one for whole prey. The benefits of bones greatly out weigh supplements.

http://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/resourcesforyou/ucm047120.htmhttp://www.mazuri.com/product_pdfs/58QC.pdf
http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1659&aid=662
http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/zoo/WholePreyFinal02May29.pdf
http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+1400&aid=651http://dwb.unl.edu/teacher/nsf/c10/c10links/www.fsis.usda.gov/oa/pubs/watrmeat.htm
Also, I'd like to mention that almost all commercial cat foods contain some sort of gum such as guar as a thickening agent that results in fowl smelling cat poo. Raw food offers a much better smelling kitty without fiber supplements.
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
AAFCO and most other organizations that do dietary analysis for companion animal food do so based on commercial food which is subjected to heat during the cooking process, consists of frankenmeat (various parts from a variety of animals in one can/bag) and cannot factor in the health of the animals used in the commercial food. Hence there will always be discrepancies in what amount of supplements is appropriate.

I doubt there is a calcium supplement better than actual bone. That said, we also have to do the best we can using the resources available to us. Try not to over think this one Matt. Feed the Mazuri, give the cat meaty bones once or twice a week if you want to (and eliminate the Mazuri on those days) and watch the cat. If poops are normal, no worries, keep doing what you're doing. If any issues develop with digestion, pooping, then look for the problem.
 
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